Paid Ads: A Vital Part of Your Influencer Campaign

Social media marketing has become a valuable part of digital marketing strategy in recent years. It’s also evolved significantly, favoring the customer journey for conversions and click-throughs. Savvy marketers now focus more on sophisticated strategy, rather than vanity metrics, to connect with the targeted audience.

The organic reach for brand accounts has taken a hit, and the competition for paid social ads has grown significantly. More and more brands are looking to influencer marketing to elevate their social media marketing strategy and gain earned media value, but paid ads can go a long way in enhancing an influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer marketing is essentially all about trust and word-of-mouth recommendations, while paid social offers incredible targeting and conversions. Paid social ads lack trust, and many users leverage ad-blockers to limit their exposure on social platforms. Bringing both together offers virtually limitless opportunity.

Influencers and Paid Social

Influencer marketing is no longer fringe or novel – many brands are using influencer marketing campaigns to reach their target audiences, and with great success. Overall, users prefer influencer and user-generated content because it’s perceived as more authentic and trustworthy than promotional content. Successful influencers have a chance to reach prospects in ways that brands can’t – at least not directly.

Ultimately, this is because influencers have a built-in trust and validation with their loyal followers through media campaigns. This is the new version of social proof and word-of-mouth advertising, and audiences notice. Most consumers are looking for reviews and testimonials before selecting a product, and an influencer streamlines that process for them. Brands are borrowing on an influencer’s existing reputation.

Still, influencers have only as much reach as their number of followers. This is especially true of micro-influencers and content creators, which have smaller, but more loyal and dedicated, audiences. These micro-influencers are perfect for sponsored content and gaining significant conversions, but their reach has limits.

This doesn’t mean you should aim for influencers with massive followings, however. In general, the larger an audience the influencer has, the lower their engagement and performance. Micro-influencers are viewed as having more expertise and authenticity, which is the exact appeal of using influencer marketing in the first place.

This gap can be bridged with paid social ads. Organic influencer content has limited reach and no targeting, which means your message may hit the wrong audience or a smaller audience. Paid ads have complex targeting capabilities, which can be used to boost the persuasion of an influencer campaign.

How to Leverage Paid Social Ads with Influencer Campaigns

Brand partnerships with influencers provide access to audiences, but with limited organic reach. Including paid ads allows brands to use the influencer’s perceived trust and authenticity as part of the message and target the ideal audience.

Paid social ads also offer granular targeting that goes far beyond basic demographics. Now, marketers can understand consumers on a deeper level and create smart, hyper targeted audiences.

Here are a few best practices to consider when leveraging influencer marketing with paid ads:

Keep It Simple

Paid advertising is all about being clear, concise, and direct to guide consumers at the bottom of the funnel. Social influencers take a longer approach and use storytelling in sponsored content. Find the happy medium with your influencer and encourage them to be focused and simple, but creative and authentic, in developing ads.

Use Smart Targeting

Targeting and audience segmentation are vital to paid ads. Use every tool at your disposal to ensure your message resonates with the ideal audience at the perfect time. You have a wealth of customer information to create a targeted campaign and boost influencer branded content with a paid ad promoting it to the ideal audience.

Balance Trust and Reach

As discussed, paid ads have powerful reach and targeting, but come across as less trustworthy. Influencers have plenty of authenticity and trust, but limited reach. Merge the two when you turn content into social media ads. Choose micro-influencers that are highly relevant to your brand and boost their content with smart ads. While it may be tempting to work with powerful social influencers, you’ll get more balance from small and loyal audiences.

Use the Power of Data

One of the challenges with influencer marketing has been data. It’s difficult to measure performance with influencer marketing to begin with, and some fake influencers artificially inflate their reach to earn more. Paid social ads can change that by offering drilled down data like click-through rates, lookalike audiences, and conversion rates, only applied to influencer content. Data can also be useful for evaluating and refining content strategy and campaigns for improving performance.

Bring Social Media Influencer Marketing and Paid Media Together

As social media matures, we must come up with more innovative approaches to reaching our specific audience. Influencer marketing has come a long way and offers a lot of value for a digital marketer’s plan, as has paid ads, but the two together can potentially revolutionize the way brands leverage the power of social media.